ARTICLE ABSTRACTmTOR is a serine/threonine kinase that acts in two distinct complexes, mTORC1 and mTORC2, and is dysregulated in many diseases including cancer. mLST8 is a shared component of both mTORC1 and mTORC2, yet little is known regarding how mLST8 contributes to assembly and activity of the mTOR complexes. Here we assessed mLST8 loss in a panel of normal and cancer cells and observed little to no impact on assembly or activity of mTORC1. However, mLST8 loss blocked mTOR association with mTORC2 cofactors RICTOR and SIN1, thus abrogating mTORC2 activity. Similarly, a single pair of mutations on mLST8 with a corresponding mutation on mTOR interfered with mTORC2 assembly and activity without affecting mTORC1. We also discovered a direct interaction between mLST8 and the NH2-terminal domain of the mTORC2 cofactor SIN1. In PTEN-null prostate cancer xenografts, mLST8 mutations disrupting the mTOR interaction motif inhibited AKT S473 phosphorylation and decreased tumor cell proliferation and tumor growth in vivo. Together, these data suggest that the scaffolding function of mLST8 is critical for assembly and activity of mTORC2, but not mTORC1, an observation that could enable therapeutic mTORC2-selective inhibition as a therapeutic strategy.
These findings show that mLST8 functions as a scaffold to maintain mTORC2 integrity and kinase activity, unveiling a new avenue for development of mTORC2-specific inhibitors.